Visually impaired people are often times seen with dogs guiding them throughout the city. However, not any puppy can pass the interview for a position of a guide dog. Such loyal, smart, focused, and caring animals have to have certain life experiences to mold them into such characters. While most of this transformation is supported by training, a recent study suggested that tough mother love is also a secret ingredient.
Researchers Observed 98 Puppies and the Way Their Mother Treated Them
On Monday, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study on the recipe that makes dogs the perfect companions to visually impaired people. Their mission is a noble one that bears lots of responsibilities. The team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania claimed that the way mothers raise these puppies can have an impact on their characters, no matter how early they start their training.
The main conclusion was that smothering mothers that coddle their puppies are likely to deprive them of chances to become a real guide dog. Past research on rodents did show that active mothering is preferred over no mothering at all. However, given the special destiny of such dogs, their relationship with their mothers might have more consequences than for others.
The experiment analyzed the connection between 98 pups and their mothers. They placed the youngsters in a pool. The active mothering instincts urged females to keep a close eye on their babies and followed them in the water. Those with passive mothering instincts remained outside the pool. The latter group had better chances to raise successful dogs in their guiding careers.
Those Mothers Who Allowed Its Baby to Struggle in Life Raised a Real Guide Dog
Another clue in their success rate is the way mothers choose to nurse their babies. There are three ways to do that. They can either lie down, sit or stand up. In the standing or sitting positions, the mother dog makes it harder for puppies to feed themselves. However, this creates a transformative challenge that increases their chances to succeed as guide companions.
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